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Do Summer Thunderstorms Typically Produce Wind Damage?

Anyone who has spent a summer in West Central Florida knows to expect a lot of thunderstorms. According to data from the World Data Center for Meteorology, Tampa has an average of 55 days during the summer with thunderstorms, with an average of 20 thunderstorms in July and 21 thunderstorms in August. The city of Tampa actually has the highest number of thunderstorms, on average, of any major city in Florida. Are these thunderstorms weather events that should concern you in terms of property damage, or are they commonplace summer incidents for which you do not need to worry about windstorm damage?

Tornado Research in West Central Florida

Should West Central Florida residents expect to see tornadoes this summer as a result of strong thunderstorms and hurricanes? While we do not receive the same type of advance warning for tornadoes that we usually do for hurricanes, it is still possible to take steps to ensure that your home can withstand, as much as possible, the strong winds of a damaging tornado. And if we were to gain a better understanding of when tornadoes are likely to strike and the type of damage they might create, Florida homeowners could be even better prepared. That is one of the aims of Vortex SE, a project with $5 million in research backing that is designed to provide insight into "how environmental factors characteristic of the southeastern United States affect the formation, intensity, structure, and path of tornadoes in this region."

5 most common causes of car accidents in Florida

Driving is an incredibly risky endeavor in Florida and that's no exaggeration. In this year alone, our state has seen 194,836 crashes, according to the most recent data available from Florida's Integrated Report Exchange System. Of those crashes, 81,641 resulted in injuries and 1,467 were fatal collisions. And as of July 17, the total number of crashes in July alone was nearly 7,600.

The solution to mitigating the number of crashes each year might be an easy one if all of these crashes were the result of a single factor. Unfortunately, there are numerous causes of serious and fatal car accidents in our state. Here are just five common causes:

How Technology Can Prevent Teen Auto Accidents

For parents in the Tampa Bay area, it can be unnerving to know that your child is nearing the age of driver's license eligibility. Teen car accidents happen much more often than they should, frequently as a result of the teenager's inexperience behind the wheel, as well as the teen's engagement with poor driving behaviors such as texting while driving. According to a recent report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety indicated that "new teen drivers ages 16-17 year old are three times as likely as adults to be involved in a deadly crash." During the summer months, teens are at a particularly high risk of being injured or killed in a motor vehicle collision. AAA describes these months as the "100 Deadliest Days," when teens are out of school, are driving much more frequently, and are placing themselves at risk of an auto accident.

Massive sinkhole causes major problems for Florida homeowners

There are several families in Land O' Lakes this week who are counting their blessings and are thankful to be alive after a 50 foot deep sinkhole opened up in their neighborhood. At present, two homes are reported to have been destroyed with other nearby homes likely to have suffered structural damage.

Although some families have been cleared to return to their homes, five homes remain empty despite the fact the sinkhole has reportedly stopped growing. "We're treating this, in essence, as a hazmat incident," explains Pasco County's Assistant Administrator for Public Safety, Kevin Guthrie, in a CNN article. The sinkhole, which is presently stopped up by debris, contains water contaminated by "household chemicals and septic tank parts."

How Can I Know if My Car Was Recalled?

When we buy products in Tampa Bay, we expect them to work properly. This is especially true when we purchase a new or used vehicle. In these situations, we should be able to anticipate that the car does not have a safety defect that could cause serious or even fatal injuries. However, product recalls are issued with some frequency, and consumers in the Tampa Bay area often are impacted by both local and nationwide recalls. Given the seriousness of an automobile recall, it is important for Floridians to learn more about these recalls and how they can stay ahead of the game. If your car is subject to a safety recall, you should be able to find out as soon as possible so that you can avoid driving until the problem has been repaired.

Storm damage: Making sure your home is covered

If you're dreading the next few months of hurricane season, you're not alone. Hurricane Matthew last year was a wake-up call for a lot of Floridians. For years we went without a powerful hurricane in our state, which lulled a lot of home owners into a false sense of security. Some home owners neglected their insurance policies as a result, which had ruinous financial consequences for some after the storm passed.

This year, however, home owners should be prepared for the worst, which includes their insurance policies. This means, of course, checking to see what's covered, updating an insurance policy and understanding what it means when an insurer is acting in bad faith.

Is your insurance policy ready for hurricane season?

For years, Florida residents enjoyed summer after summer of hurricane-free weather. That was until Hurricane Matthew broke the cycle in 2016. While many thought they were covered, some discovered far too late that their coverage wasn't enough.

Though we may not see another Matthew-like hurricane this year, it doesn't hurt to prepare for the worst. June 1st, the start of hurricane season, is just around the corner. By taking the time now to review this hurricane season insurance checklist, you could save yourself a major headache later on. 

Florida drought increases fire risk

The significant drought that has lasted into spring throughout Hillsborough County has greatly increased the risk of wildfires. At one point in April, Florida had over 100 wildfires active at one time. While so far wildfires have been contained, homeowners throughout Florida have reason to be concerned.

The Tampa Bay Times recently quoted state climatologist David Zierden as saying the dry spell has so far exceeded averages for the state. Already in 2017, wildfires have spread over 126,000 acres throughout Florida. This is more than usually occurs for an entire year. On April 9, the Hernando Beach brush fire grew to 650 acres. On April 17, wildfires closed three highways in Central Florida.

Teens are hard-wired to be riskier drivers

While most people are not surprised by the concept that teens engage in risky behaviors, they might not be aware of the scientific research that backs up this claim. According to a recent study, teens in countries across the world showed risky behavior that peaked until they reached the age of 23 or 24. Unfortunately, this behavior includes teens driving more recklessly than their older counterparts, speeding, and letting themselves get more easily distracted.

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